The Pirates have designated an infielder Diego Castillo for assignment by tracking their deals on MLB.com. The move opens up a roster spot for a catcher Austin Hedgesthe signing of which became official today.
Castillo, 25, was one of two players traded from the Yankees to the Pirates in a July 2021 trade. Clay Holmes to the Bronx. the other Old park, was designated for assignment in November, going to the Red Sox and then the Braves in subsequent trades. That means today’s deal could potentially erase Holmes’ return from Pittsburgh’s roster after just a year and a half, while Holmes has continued to establish himself as a key part of the Yankees’ bullpen.
Castillo was a dominant contact early in his professional career, striking out about 10% of the time in the low minors, but rarely putting the ball over the fence. 2021 looked like a breakout year for him, as he hit 19 home runs between the Yankees and Pirates systems, finishing the year with a combined slash of .278/.355/.487 and a 128 wRC+.
He was selected to Pittsburgh’s 40-man roster last November, but was unable to continue his positive development. He played in 96 games at the big league level in 2022 and hit 11 home runs, but he also struck out in 26.5% of his games while walking only 4.9%. He finished the season with a .206/.251/.382 batting line, 27% below average, as evidenced by his 73 wRC+. He also pitched in 35 Triple-A games, but the results were only marginally better. It appears the Bucs saw enough to feel it was time to move on.
They will now have one week to trade or waive him. It is possible that Castillo could attract some interest from other clubs despite his disappointing season. He’s still young and has a few years left. He’s also played all four outfield positions and some right field, which means he can provide clubs with a versatile piece of depth even if his bat doesn’t swing.